Seafood is closely associated with cats due to their love of fish. However, can cats eat shrimp?
Is shrimp good for cats? If it is so, can we include it into our pet’s daily diet?
Those are the questions that we will try to find the answers to. If you're one of the pet owners, who keep wondering if it's safe for a cat to eat this particular seafood then read on and find out.
It's only reasonable to assume that cats would enjoy the taste of shrimp because seafood of any kind seems to be appealing to felines.
However, does it mean that this is safe for cats to eat? Our feline buddies would surely love the fishy flavor of shrimps as much as we do.
Since cats are carnivores, this tasty seafood would undoubtedly satisfy their craving for meat.
Additionally, these seafood are already small in size, and their shape makes it easy for a kitty to nibble on, swallow and digest.
However, the question remains – can cats eat shrimp? The answer is yes; cats can eat shrimp. They will love eating this seafood.
However, there are some things to consider before you serve this yummy treat to your furry friend.
Shrimp is non-toxic to cats, but there are certain precautions to keep in mind.
Even though it’s safe for them, too much consumption of it can still pose serious health problems to your kitty.
Can cats eat shrimp? Yes, they can. However, it takes a lot more than this question to ensure the safety and overall health of our feline pets.
To fully understand the role of shrimp in a feline's diet, we need to look at the following considerations:
Apart from answering the question – can cats eat shrimp? We also need to dig deeper and try to find the answers to the problems stated above.
What Are the Benefits of Shrimp to Cats?
Like most seafood, shrimp is an excellent source of powerful antioxidants. It is rich in vitamins B12, B3, B6, and E.
Aside from that, it is packed with omega three fatty acids, iodine, selenium, zinc, phosphorus, and copper.
That's a massive deal of nutritional value for such a small piece of food. How can felines benefit from the nutrient content of shrimps?
Omega 3 fatty acids can help promote good circulation and blood flow, not just in humans but also in animals.
These polyunsaturated fatty oils also improve brain and heart functions as well as providing a healthy skin and coat.
Moreover, these seafood contain astaxanthin, an anti-inflammatory keto-carotenoid known to provide antioxidant support to both nervous and musculoskeletal systems.
Animal studies have shown that the antioxidants in seafood can reduce the risk of colon cancer and diabetes in animals. However, wait, there's more.
It is also a good source of protein. For felines, proteins from animals are the easiest to digest.
Plus, animal proteins contain more essential amino acids than their plant-based counterparts.
The metabolism of felines breaks down amino acids faster than any other mammals. That is why cats require more protein in their regular diet.
Most foods that are high in protein usually have high caloric value. However, shrimp is different.
Despite its high protein content, it does not incorporate many calories. This makes it an ideal solution for the prevention of obesity in felines.
Can Cats Eat raw Shrimp? Alternatively, Cooked?
Can cats eat raw shrimp? Cats are initially wild hunters. This means that they devour on a live prey such as rodents, birds, and fishes.
Before they were even domesticated, felines depend on their hunting skills to eat raw, fresh meat.
They have an innate inclination towards raw beef, and they prefer their food to be that way.
Generally, our feline companions would find raw seafood more appetizing than the cooked ones.
Domestic cats aren’t allowed to hunt their prey in the outdoors. Giving them a piece of smelly, moist raw shrimp will also provide them with the feeling of catching it on their own.
Can cats eat cooked shrimp?
Most of us prefer our shrimps to be cooked, but cats would prefer them uncooked.
Our feline pets should still be allowed to eat cooked shrimp as long as they like it. However, make sure that it isn't seasoned with garlic and onions.
Spicy seasonings, salt, garlic, shallots, and onions are toxic to cats if ingested in high amounts.
Cooked shrimp should be excellent for your kitties as long as it is cooked. Ideally, it should be boiled, steamed or grilled without any added seasonings and spices.
Deep-fried shrimps contain high amounts of oil that can be harmful to our furry friends. Felines lack the necessary metabolic enzymes to break down fats.
Undigested oils can accumulate in their system and may become toxic if ingested in very high concentrations.
To avoid toxicity, refrain from feeding your pets with oil-rich foods or anything that is deep-fried.
Furthermore, allow the newly-cooked shrimp to cool down before serving to your pet.
It can potentially burn their mouth and tongue if you instantly serve it right from the pan.
Can Cats Eat Shrimp – Fresh or Frozen
If you live near seafloors or coastal areas, it would be easy for you to find and catch fresh shrimps out of the water. However, the case would be different if you're not.
Most people who are not privileged to live near the ocean have no choice but to opt for frozen shrimps that are available in supermarkets.
Fresh shrimp embodies typically a saltwater smell that felines find very appealing.
However, if the frozen variant is more accessible, you can still opt for it, and your pet will love it either way.
Packed, frozen shrimps are soaked in salt water before they are packed to retain their freshness.
Serve it to your kitty before it defrosts, your pet will surely love chewing on it. Plus, the frost on the seafood can provide additional hydration to your feline buddy.
Don’t let it sit outside the freezer for a few days as it is likely to harbor disease-causing bacteria.
You may store these frozen goods in the freezer for a couple of weeks but don’t let it stay beyond that period.
Despite being kept in the fridge, food can still spoil if not consumed for long periods of time.
Remember that the smell is the indicator of freshness and felines can tell if food is still fresh or not just by sniffing it.
If your pet runs away from it after smelling, it only means that the food is already stale and unsafe to eat.
An overwhelming fishy odor may indicate that it's already past their prime. More importantly, the smell of ammonia is an indication that it already harbors bacteria that can potentially cause poisoning.
You can also tell just by assessing its appearance. Unspoiled shrimp should have prominent eyes. Avoid those with dry or missing eyes.
Additionally, the shell should be firm and glossy. The appearance of black discolorations is also an indication that it is no longer fresh.
It's also easy to determine freshness by its texture. It should feel moist and firm to the touch. Don't buy it if it is dry and tight. Mushy and slimy textures are also signs that it has been frozen for a long time.
How to Clean Shrimp Properly Before Serving It to Your Pet
Cleaning shrimps before cooking or serving them raw to your pet require more than just washing them with water.
Some people often remove its digestive tract to avoid ingesting residues such as mud and sand. Moreover, who knows what other things are laying inside it?
Keep your feline pets from ingesting these parts by removing the digestive tracts or the visible black lines inside shrimps.
The black veins are usually removed by making a shallow slit along the back and pull out the thread with the knife or a toothpick.
Leaving the shells on with its head and tail attached should be fine for your feline companion.
They usually enjoy eating the head and tail, so there's no need to remove these parts.
After removing the digestive tract, rinse it under cold running water. Serve it raw to your feline pet or cook it.
How Much Should You Feed Your Cat with Shrimp?
Your furball would probably eat as much shrimp as you can offer. The smell of seafood can entice any feline, and they'll consume more than their stomach can handle.
However, can cats eat shrimp in large quantities? How much is enough and how much is too much?
Shrimps are not toxic to felines. Cats can benefit from its nutritional value.
However, using it as a source of nutrients is not necessary if you're already giving adequately formulated cat food.
It should be served in moderate quantities because cats tend to become addicted to foods that are offered to them frequently.
Felines are known to be creatures of habit. They are likely to develop a practice of rejecting their regular food if you introduce something new into their diet on a regular basis.
Hence, it should be given only as an occasional treat and should not be regarded as a substitute for their regular food.
Large-sized cats can have one jumbo-sized shrimp while medium and small-sized cats can have one regular sized shrimp.
Feeding them once or twice a week should be fine and do not give them more than the recommended quantity.
Is Shrimp Good for Cats?
If taken in moderation, our feline pets can benefit from the nutrients found in shrimps.
However, it can pose adverse effects on their health if they consume too much of it.
This particular seafood also has large amounts of cholesterol and sodium that can cause negative impacts on a feline’s health.
High level of cholesterol can lead to hyperlipidemia in felines and is characterized by abnormal levels of fatty substances in the bloodstream.
Excess sodium in the blood can lead to hypernatremia in felines that are associated with increased thirst and urination.
In severe cases, high levels of sodium consumption can result in sodium ion poisoning that can lead to death if not treated immediately.
Feeding your pets with too much of it can expose them to higher risks of acquiring these health problems.
However, if you're serious about considering shrimps as an infrequent treat for your kitty then always remember that moderation is the key.
Introduce this new treat gradually into your pet's diet to avoid disrupting its digestion by making sudden dietary changes.
Start small and always be vigilant especially during the first time. Keep an eye for any potential side effects and behavior changes.
Shrimp Allergy in Cats
In humans, shellfish allergy is potentially severe, and this type of allergy is usually life-long. This means that there's no known cure for this allergy.
Also, the best way to manage this condition is to avoid eating foods such as shrimp, crab, lobster and other crustaceans.
The thing is that – humans are not the only ones with this type of allergy. Yes, even animals can have it too.
Of course, felines are no exceptions to shellfish allergy.
There’s a possibility that your kitty may be allergic to shrimps. Always observe your pet’s reaction each time it eats this salty treat.
If your feline pet begins to swell, shows difficulty in breathing, have increased heart rate, or becomes bloated, you should take it to the vet immediately.
In this case, avoid giving your pet clams, scallops and oysters as well.
Can Kittens Eat Shrimp
Young kittens have a very delicate digestive system, so you need to be very cautious with the food that you're giving them.
Kittens can eat shrimp but only in small portions and should just be given as a treat. Make sure to give it to them fresh and unseasoned.
So break it up into tiny pieces to avoid the risk of choking. Although shrimps are safe for kittens in small quantities, it is not recommended to feed them with it.
There are specially formulated cat foods intended for kittens that can help them grow and develop properly.
However, if you can't say ‘no' to the demands of your cute kittens, do it so in moderation as with any other treats.
Conclusion: Can Cats Eat Shrimp
Packed with essential nutrients and vitamins, shrimps can be a healthy treat for your kitty.
However, then again, it should only be offered as an occasional treat and not to be included in their daily meal.
Can cats eat shrimp? Yes, they can. As long as you follow the proper way to clean, prepare and cook (optional), this tasty seafood can undoubtedly bring delight to your kitty.
As obligate carnivores, your favorite felines will love this salty treat. The only thing you need to watch out is the quantity and frequency of feeding them with it.
Is shrimp good for cats? They can get some essential nutrients from it. However, it shouldn't be considered as their primary source of nutrients and vitamins.
Formulated cat foods should be enough to provide them with all the daily nutritional requirements they need.
So as long you provide a well-balanced diet to your pet, there's no need to feed them with shellfish.
This is also to prevent causing anguish to your feline pet if it happens to have a shellfish allergy.
Keeping your feline pet safe should be our top priority. Offering human foods allows them to try something new, but there are possible risks that are affiliated with it.
Understanding these potential risks can give you a more precise overview of the foods that your pet should and should not eat.